Pros and cons of Detroit Lions picking Alabama football's Jameson Williams in 2022 NFL Draft

Nick Kelly
The Tuscaloosa News

Alabama football's Jameson Williams was selected by the Detroit Lions in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. 

Williams was drafted No. 12 overall. The Lions traded up with the Minnesota Vikings to get him at that spot. 

His selection marks the third consecutive year in which Alabama has had at least one receiver picked in the first round of the draft. He's the eighth first-round receiver during Nick Saban's 15 years coaching the Crimson Tide. 

Williams transferred to Alabama in 2021 after two underwhelming seasons with Ohio State in a crowded receiver room. He tallied 15 receptions for 266 yards and three touchdowns over those two seasons with the Buckeyes. 

Then he rocketed onto the scene in Tuscaloosa, finishing the season with 79 receptions for 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns. Four of those scores went 70-plus yards, which set an Alabama single-season record and led all Division I receivers. 

Here's what Williams brings to the NFL. 

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The positives

All it often took was one play for Williams to bust open a game. 

The SEC Championship Game is a prime example. Alabama was trailing No. 1 Georgia 10-0 early in the second quarter, and the Bulldogs looked like they would march to a methodical victory. Or so they thought. Williams caught a pass over the middle and took it 67 yards for a touchdown. Alabama went on to win 41-24. 

Williams has literal game-changing speed. Often, he took a pass and even when defenders had good angles of pursuit, kicked it into another gear and ran past them. 

He grew up in a track family in St. Louis and even likes playing special teams. He got ejected for targeting on a special teams play in the Iron Bowl this past November. Williams also returned two kicks for touchdowns. 

The concerns

Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams (1) carries the ball against Cincinnati in the 2021 College Football Playoff Semifinal game at the 86th Cotton Bowl in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas Friday, Dec. 31, 2021. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]

The biggest question mark around Williams is his knee.

He tore his ACL in the College Football Playoff Championship, and Alabama's offense wasn't the same. Williams had surgery in January. The time frame he was given was five to seven months, and at Alabama's pro day on March 30, he told NFL Network he was ahead of schedule 10 weeks after surgery. 

"We're just getting a lot of movement, a lot of good workouts in," Williams said. "I'm in the pool and everything. Slight jog. Really getting to do high knees, butt kicks, things like that. Just getting back into the motions."

Final thoughts

If Williams can return to pre-injury form, he has a chance to be a special, game-changing player at the next level. He certainly was in his lone year at Alabama. 

Nick Kelly covers Alabama football and men's basketball for The Tuscaloosa News, part of the USA TODAY Network. Reach him at nkelly@gannett.com or follow him on Twitter: @_NickKelly